Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

4 questions Patrick Jagoda – Network Aesthetics

Posted on | November 13, 2018 | No Comments

A lot to talk about in this book! Some questions I’m working through.

After being defeated by Deep Blue, Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion, played a far lesser known game, now known as Kasparov Versus the World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasparov_versus_the_World), in which Kasparov played a crowd-sourced team comprised of the world, via the Internet. This is in many ways similar to Twitch plays Pokemon that Jagoda mentions on page 24. Are these “Democracy Mode” games a ways in which we escape and/or resist the sort of toxic networks that Jagoda imagines on page 18, based in surveillance, capitalism and terror? I am thinking through how every network device I use enabled my own surveillance and contributes to capitalism in no small way, and so I’m curious if there are ways to be within these networks while also resisting them, and/or using their tools to reveal and exploit ruptures within the notion of games as “monolithic structures” (146).

In “AIDS and its Metaphors” (1988), Sontag dedicates space to paralleling the perception and metaphoric treatment of AIDS, and illness at large, to the proliferation of computer viruses just beginning to take hold; in fact, this conflation of illness and cyberspace was also present in one of the earliest email scams was wherein users were sent an email informing them that they had AIDS infecting the computer with fake invoices to be paid to companies in Panama. Why do you think the idea of the viral, and the fear of the virus was, and continues to be such a persistent metaphor in our contemporary networked world? How is a virus different than a glitch or accident (page 78, 100) or the types of productive disruption Jagoda sees in games like Between (164)? What is it about a virus’s characteristics that lends it this power and how might we identify and resist the, often false and inflammatory alarms, that metaphors of virus raise (thinking of foreigners “infecting” homelands, for example)

On page 146, Jadoga quotes Mackenzie Wark in explaining that the single-player stand-alone game may eventually be an “orphaned form” similar to silent cinema. The most obvious difference then between silent cinema and contemporary cinema is the absence of sound, and while we know that silent cinema was never truly silent, Wark’s comparison seems to imply that it is an entirely different sensory experience to play alone versus playing together. If this is true (and it might not be!), what are the “senses” that a player “gains” access to by playing in a network as opposed to alone? Is it that certain senses are heightened? Do we expand our sensoriums to gain access to senses, or sensations, we can’t have alone?

Whereas Vivian Sobchack discusses the positive “non-knowing” that the body makes sense with (i.e. generates its own knowledge of the world through sensory reactions), Proctor is pointed to as highlighting “Agnotology” (the study of ignorance) on page 58 wherein networks create a “layered ignorance”. Similarly, Jagoda points to “dark play” wherein players in games don’t know that they are playing, as an exciting and essential component to ARGs (192); as well, Jagoda also points to the not-knowing that arrises from playing Between, wherein the two players work collaboratively without knowing what the other is doing or saying. When designing or making, what role does “not-knowing” play, in terms of sensual experience, willfully and unwillfull ignorance, miscommunication etc? If mastery and skill is essential to “flow” as discussed previously in other texts, what does ignorance and not-knowing do to and for an audience, player, user?


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